Devin Setoguchi and Ryane Clowe both buried beautiful goals to kick off game five between the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings. They jumped San Jose out to a 2-0 lead and contributed to play that was largely dominated by the Sharks for about 55 minutes of ice time. When Nicklas Kronwall (aided by the puck wizardry of Pavel Datsyuk) buried a shot in after the second goal to make it 2-1, the Sharks didn't bat an eye. They kept playing strong, and made it a 3-1 lead when Logan Couture took a solid feed from Dany Heatley and faked out Jimmy Howard. And on the next shift following the goal, when Jonathan Ericsson snuck into the crease and buried a deflection, the Sharks responded, at least momentarily.
Then for some, inexplicable reason, they just stopped playing good hockey. Despite the fact that Antti Niemi was solid the whole night and the fact that they'd dominated the shots and faceoffs, San Jose played it like they were trying to protect the tie instead of going for the win. All credit goes to Detroit for not rolling over and elevating their play when it mattered most, but the Sharks definitely rolled over at the end of that game. After Danny Cleary tied the game, the Sharks got slow, and complacent.
And Pavel Datsyuk took advantage like he'd never taken advantage before. He victimized Patrick Marleau (who was invisible the entire game, no, the entire series) with a spin move and took the puck around to Nicklas Lidstrom, who shot it, and Tomas Holmstrom was able to bury it off the deflection, giving them the 4-3 lead that they wouldn't relinquish. San Jose got a power play, but it didn't matter. The Red Wings took game five because they didn't give up, it will be interesting to hear what the order was from the coach in those last minutes.
It was yet another game with plenty of goals scored that was still predicated on extremely strong play from both goalies. It never felt as though Niemi was beaten on his own, it was always a bad shift from the Sharks, while Howard made some more impressive saves of his own and came through in the clutch with some good scrambles on the San Jose power play. There's not much you can bet on going forward in this crazy series, other than the fact that game six will likely feature strong goalie play, Pavel Datsyuk making somebody look silly with one hand, Ryane Clowe getting a beautiful assist, and a one-goal victory for whoever walks out of the Joe Louis Arena with their arms raised above their head.
These are the notes I took during the game, may as well post them for some play-by-play analysis, un-edited.
San Jose getting opportunities early, with strong play from Torrey Mitchell. Both Jimmy Howard and Antti Niemi make strong saves in the first five minutes. Brad Stuart gets called for boarding on Logan Couture and the Sharks get a power play at 5:46. San Jose is active early with their power play, Joe Pavelski getting a shot off early, but the Red Wings respond well and kill the penalty. Douglas Murray hits Justin Abdelkader big time in the first period ... twice. Nicklas Lidstrom goes to the box at 12:26 for tripping Devin Setoguchi. Sharks get a couple few shots on goal in the first minute of the power play, and get a couple more in the second minute, but Detroit kills it. The Red Wings respond by getting the puck in San Jose's zone, and a shot off on Niemi led to a tasty rebound for Jonathan Ericsson, who shoots, and is left shaking his head when Niemi dives from post to post to make the glove save. Joe Thornton wins the faceoff and Dan Boyle takes the puck at the point, firing on net, where Setoguchi cut across the middle to bury it on the deflection to put the Sharks up 1-0. Joe Thornton goes to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct on Johan Franzen. Franzen responds with a slash to the shins, and Thornton takes a dive, setting up a 4-on-4. Nothing comes out of it.
- Announcers blamed Couture for getting slammed into the boards by Stuart. This coincides with them calling his game four goal "unearned."- Sharks out-shoot Detroit 16-7, have two power plays (0-2), win faceoffs 11-7, and are out-hit 9-7.- San Jose gave up the puck nine times to Detroit's two. Not good.- Pavel Datsyuk is definitely hurt, or otherwise has something wrong with him. He saw 6:10 of ice time, had zero shots and won zero faceoffs.- Thornton totally dived, better than most.- Through one period, the announcers are much better than they were in game four, aside from the aforementioned bit about Couture.
Good passing from Detroit early on, but the Sharks keep a lot of pressure on. Pavel Datsyuk is called for holding, the first time he's mentioned all game, and the Sharks get another power play. Early on, Boyle gets a scoring chance and Jimmy Howard makes a great save. The Sharks swarm the net and Howard makes nother great save, and eventually gets the stoppage. After the first 1:20 of the power play, the Red Wings finally get a clear, and then the Sharks are called for offsides. Detroit gets two more clears, and the penalty kill is successful. Dany Heatley and Jason Demers team up for a great scoring opportunity, but it's another strong save by Howard. Pavelski gets a breakaway off the faceoff, but shoots it wide. Detroit gets some kind of offense going a couple shifts later, but Niemi shuts them down with people screening him and lots of traffic in front of the net. Joe Thornton goes to the box for hooking and Detroit gets a power play. Brian Rafalski has a shot, but Douglas Murray gets in the lane and has a good block, clearing it away. On the next entrance, the Sharks clear the puck away again ... and then again. It's cleared, and the power play comes to an end. We hear Ryane Clowe's name for the first time, with a 1-on-1 against Howard, but he shoots it a little high and Howard gets the incidental deflection behind the net. Ryane Clowe strikes again though, with a 2-on-1, Clowe comes up on the left side and fires a beautiful pass to Joe Pavelski, who buries it over Howard's shoulder to put the Sharks up 2-0. On the next shift, Datsyuk finally hears his name called in a positive light, when he takes it through the defensive zone and feeds Niklas Kronwall, who jumped into the play and buried it past Niemi. Kronwall continues with the play-making by absolutely demolishing Clowe in the neutral zone as we come to one minute remaining. The period comes to an end.
- Sharks blocked two shots and cleared the puck seven times on Detroit's first power play of the night- Jimmy Howard was, once again, fantastic.- Niemi, to his credit, is very sharp when the action comes his way, with traffic in front of him- Kronwall was the game-changer in the second period- Puzzled by the fact that people don't understand that slashing is slashing anywhere on the body, whether contact is made or not.
The Red Wings start out the period with a scoring opportunity, but it goes wide and the Sharks go back on the attack, with Dany Heatley feeding it to Logan Couture, who fakes and buries it past Howard five hole to put the Sharks up 3-1. Directly after the goal, Heatley goes to the penalty box for hi sticking. The Red Wings get it in San Jose's zone, but Joe Thornton steals it and clears it. As they turn to enter again, Thornton steals it a second time. Unfortunately, the Sharks lose sight of Jonathan Ericsson, who catches a deflection and beats Niemi, it was an odd deflection. On the next shift, Niemi is mixed up with too many San Jose players in his face, and Dan Cleary buries it past Niemi. The momentum has shifted in Detroit's favor, or perhaps not, as the next few shifts are very balanced, with pseudo-opportunities from both sides. Then for some reason, the Sharks go into complacency mode. There's no urgency, there's no aggressiveness, and it leads to Detroit taking the lead. Detroit takes time in San Jose's zone ... a lot of time, and Datsyuk gets the puck near Patrick Marlaeu, then absolutely makes him look silly by spinning and getting passed him, he gets it to Lidstrom, who shoots and Tomas Holmstrom gets the goal off of a deflection, to put the Red Wings up 4-3. Then, Justin Abdelkader goes to the bo for elbowing and the Sharks have a power play. Pavelski makes a mistake and the puck goes by him and it's cleared. The Sharks give up a turnover, then get the puck back ,and pass it right to Detroit. Sloppy puck-handling on the power play. It's killed, and they can't get anything done for the remainder. Detroit wins it 4-3.